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The votes have been counted & verified…the results are…


623 of you lovely people voted for the cover you prefer. Thanks for your input. Here are the results: Cover 2 got the most votes (295); cover 3 got the least (122); cover 1 came in second with 206 votes. The comments attached to many of the votes were fascinating – I’ve listed some of them below. Will I go with the democratic wishes of the majority? I don’t know yet. I am, however, inclined to knock out cover 3, leaving the choice between the stylistic graphic on cover 1 or the simpler graphic on cover 2.

There are also many things still to consider, such as legibility in iTunes, fitting a complex logo on to the printed book’s spine and other issues that don’t have to nailed down yet. One thing has come across crystal clear: the “not” has to be emphasised even more than it already is.


I like the “not” to stand out. Loving the font in number 3 though…. 1 is just horrendous

1 definitely has a Victorian patent medicine feel to it for me. Love it. My 2nd choice is actually #2 as it does the best job of emphasizing “NOT”.

Cover one title is too cluttered. One or two typefaces maximum; cover one does not work in that respect. Cover three title is cramped. Cover two has a consistent typeface with “not” emphasized in a far more attractive manner than either of the other two.

Number 3 conveys a sense of optimism to me. That pairs well with the excitement in the cycling community today.

I think Cover 2 conveys the message more clearly but Cover 1 looks nicer. Since no car drivers will read it anyway we may as well have the nicer looking one.

I like this one because the “not” stands out more – it’s quite a complicated title anyway, so having the simpler font and this clearer emphasis does it for me. But I can probably see the simalr argumants for either of the other versions.

Prefer 1 and 3, because it highlights the words Roads and Cars, which I think it more attention-grabbing. Of those two, I like the way the R of Roads leads the eye into the title.

I like the dynamic look of the font and its arrangement on the page. Also like the serif / sans serif mix of #1 with the “R” adding to the dynamism of the thing.

At first I liked the 2nd because it made it clear that it is NOT. However, I think the font and style of the first is much better. It’s up to the reader to read

Cover 2 has the best emphasis of the word ‘not’ which is the key point of the book!

Cover one lettering is the clearest. Sign Design Guide recommends that text using Sentence Case is the most readable. Upper case first letter and lower case rest of the word. Words all in caps are not easy to read. This is instantly comparable across the three covers. The second two covers use all caps for the text. The first uses a combination of lower and upper case. In fact the first cover should also use this for the words NOT BUILT FOR CARS. ‘Not Built for Cars’ would be clearer. My two pence worth.

Cover 2 is too blocky and straight. Cover 3 is a good compromise but lacks the flair, quirkiness and character that I like in cover 1

I prefer the script of Cover 1, but the way that NOT pops out is appealing in Cover 2.

Looking forward to reading. The designs look terrific.

The different fonts for ‘Roads’ and ‘Cars’ kind of subliminally stops a natural association between the two. I think. All the best for the book.

[2 is] the only really legible one of the three; the other two are fussy/cluttered

Illustration is busy, so simple type contrasts well.

Cover 1 is more in keeping with the historical nature of the book. Very reminiscent of old bicycle adverts in which the artwork was drawn rather than photographed.

No.1 is purely instinctive choice for me, can’t explain why. Just trying to imagine it on display at the front of Foyles, which I’m sure it will be shortly 🙂

I especially like the initial R on No1 but think the “NOT” needs to be a little stronger.

Use the font from cover 1 for the word “road” only, but keep everything else exactly as is on cover 2. It reads the most fluidly and highlights “not” in a cheeky “wait a minute” way instead of a yelling annoying way.
Like the sense of movement and perspective in 1 and 3. Chose 3 because NOT was emphasized most strongly and it is easier to read than 1. Cover 1 has a nice feel, but want that NOT to be stronger and legibility to be a bit better.

You need to be accentuating the NOT – this is the commonly held but mythical assumption you’re challenging with the whole book isn’t it? If you want to see attitudes and behaviour on UK roads change then it’s the common assumption that drivers have priority in all situations, at all times (because the roads are for driving only) that needs challenging. Otherwise, keep going and good luck!

Definitely option 2. The other two versions emphasise Roads and Cars and the “not” gets lost yet it’s the most important word in the title – the raison d’être of the book in fact! (P.S. my wife agrees .. so that seals it)

I think the word “not” is key in the title for emphasizing the focus of the book. So, while they are all lovely, I strongly prefer cover 2. Regardless the cover, though, I am really looking forward to diving into your book. Congrats on completing the writing!

Prefer the way 3 looks artistically but think 2 will get more people to pick up the book – and that’s the point I presume.

Sorry but all three covers look far too congested! Any chance of a Cover #4 option?

Treatment one captures the Period of much of the crucial material in the book, placing it well, even before the reader opens the covers. I suspect that this is the preferred choice anyway, given its location and preselection.

I prefer #1 because the typeface of ‘Roads’ stands out much better, and makes a more appealing impact, in my opinion. The ‘R’ gives it some punch and character — and focus. I hope this helps! Best of luck! Perhaps you can come to do a talk in the Netherlands when it’s released. Please let me know when it’s ready. Best regards, Shirley Agudo

Number 2 seems clearer and does a better job of ensuring the casual viewer, bookstore browser(?), won’t miss the “not”. Incidentally, this is a point I made I a letter to the Victoria, British Columbia Times-Colonist. They ran a news article about an archivist at the University of Victoria uncovering a cycle route map that covered from the city centre north to the tip of the Saanich Peninsula and west to Sooke, distances of around 30 km. each. The surprising thing? The route map was published in 1896! My letter pointed out that this would be no surprise to any one who knows the history of cyclists lobbying for road improvements a couple of decades before automobiles were common.

The typeface in #2 is boring, and the style in #3 is too modern to go with the artwork. #1 matches the time period best of the three.

I don’t like the proposed covers. The design is too messy. I prefer the original draft as in the banner heading.

Asking unqualified lay-people to make design decisions is asking for trouble… 🙂

They all look good.

Can’t wait!!!

Hurry up god dam it, I can.t wait to get my hands on it. Well done and keep up the good work.

26 thoughts on “The votes have been counted & verified…the results are…

  1. maca / Reply July 8, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    I prefer cover 1, with cover 3 a close second. These two have a sense of fun and movement.

  2. Ian / Reply July 8, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    I prefer cover 1. I’m not that keen on cover 3. I like the way cover 2 seems to emphasise the “NOT” more as it is out on the top right and more noticeable, but cover 1 is still my choice.

  3. Nick / Reply July 8, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    1 & 3 are the prettiest, but I do like the ‘not’ in 2. It will get a few double-takes.

  4. Roland / Reply July 8, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    3 looks the best to me because the words “roads”, “not” and “cars” are all prominent. “not” is not sufficiently prominent in the others.

  5. Heather / Reply July 8, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    I like the serif font of cover 1’s “roads.” Makes me feel like I’m rolling along a road.

  6. Arthur / Reply July 8, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    Given the illustration of the cover and the historic nature of much of the content I think 1-3-2 are my order of preference.

  7. Mick / Reply July 9, 2014 at 9:05 am

    2 is aggressive and in your face, it doesn’t fit with the picture. I like the ‘railroad’ effect of 1 and 3, which fits well with the theme. 2 over emphasises the ‘not’, which given that the picture is full of trains actually treats the reader like a fool.

  8. Karo / Reply July 9, 2014 at 9:33 am

    option 3 is best by miles, the image is so busy that it needs a dynamic title to be visible and catch attention and explain what the book is about. Option 2 doesn’t work at all as you only see word not nothing else, very bad for marketing purposes.

  9. David / Reply July 9, 2014 at 11:37 am

    The lettering in 1 and 3 is too fussy.! catches the eye!

  10. Phil Lee / Reply July 9, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    2 is the only one on which all the words are clear from a distance, or to those with poor eyesight.
    Readability is FAR more important than “prettyness”.
    I have to say that the cover design is very busy compared to the earlier version, which is visible on the page banner, and in my opinion is much better.
    By comparison, the new one looks like it’s aimed at the under 12 market.

    • carltonreid / Reply July 9, 2014 at 6:58 pm

      I also put that out to a vote – the decision was overwhelmingly for the Pete English cover. The “original” artwork will be in the book somewhere.

  11. ConallBoyle / Reply July 9, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    Ho! I’d like to vote for No. 2, but I can’t find the button!

  12. Chris / Reply July 9, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    Asking unqualified lay-people to make design decisions is asking for trouble…

    I’ve been in design for 30 years … :-0

    • carltonreid / Reply July 9, 2014 at 6:57 pm

      Design is subjective though. And rightly so – different designs have to appeal to different audiences.

      • Fonant / Reply July 9, 2014 at 7:01 pm

        To a certain extent, yes. People know a good design when they see one, and we can all spot a design that doesn’t quite work or looks amateurish.

        But good design is very objective, and involves a lot more rules and science than you’d expect.

        Good design is very difficult to do, even though the end result looks “obvious” and “easy”!

  13. Fonant / Reply July 9, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    You should probably ask an expert in typography – a highly important but often-neglected science.

    Having read the comments I still prefer No.1, but perhaps it would be better tidied up and with all the words in the same mixed-case serif font instead of two quite different fonts (serif and sans-serif).


  14. anonymous / Reply July 9, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    2 is the “cleanest”; #1 is “How many different fonts can I use?”
    #3 is ok, but looks crooked

  15. HHGeek / Reply July 10, 2014 at 7:26 am

    #1 is best – echoes of printed handbills, from an era before cars.

    I’m apparently in a tiny weeny minority that thinks over-emphasising the ‘not’ is a really bad idea. It comes across very aggressively, and will turn off a good %age of potential readers. (This from someone who gets told I come across aggressively!) Surely the idea is to get car obsessives to read this too?

    So that’s another reason for my preference for #1. More likely to be picked up from the shelf by all sorts of people.

    • HHGeek / Reply July 10, 2014 at 7:27 am

      In fact, I’d almost be inclined to switch the underlining from ‘not’ to ‘cars’!

  16. Cavia / Reply July 10, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    I’d like to comment that the cover artwork is too “cluttered”. Originally, you showed a cover featuring a single bicycle. I thought it looked great. Now, you seem to want to put the entire history of transportation on it.

    • carltonreid / Reply July 10, 2014 at 9:17 pm

      The book changed from a book about cycling to a book about cycling and cycling’s key role in the foundation and promotion of motoring. Therefore the original cover wouldn’t work.
      I commissioned a cover that encompassed many of the episodes and characters mentioned in the book.
      I agree that it’s busy but it repays greater reflection.

      In tests, it was rated very highly.

  17. Jay Gatto / Reply July 14, 2014 at 9:14 am

    I have to say, the original cover, show on this page banner, is FAR clearer, to the point, and more attractive ..and, hence, will attract the eye of the buying public [yes, I’m a designer]

    • carltonreid / Reply July 14, 2014 at 10:03 am

      Hi Jay – that image will be used in the book (maybe even for the back cover?). However, it doesn’t feature any motor cars, and the book does!

      • Jay Gatto / Reply July 14, 2014 at 10:45 am

        I think no cars makes a good point! ..but, with the new cover, to add clarity, I’d try to incorporate the ‘sand’ colour [#E5B566], even behind the ‘sky’, with the font-style as the prev cover – also for the lower right-hand ‘earth’ under your signature. It would add a tad more ‘pop’ ..a term I use frugally.

        • carltonreid / Reply July 14, 2014 at 1:39 pm

          On Twitter, I’ve just had a suggestion to produce a dust jacket using the “old” cover. That could be possible.

          • Jay Gatto / July 14, 2014 at 4:43 pm

            Great idea!

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